The book, which summarizes Vanzant's twelve years of study and training, is part autobiography, part self-help, and part diary. Vanzant uses her life experiences to illustrate and explore the core issues of a black woman's life: redefining the ideals of beauty, friendship, self-love, empowerment, and forgiveness. With these stories drawn from her life, she attempts to imbue readers with knowledge of their own inherent strength and the faith to believe in a higher power.
Vanzant's voice is personable and warm, and the power of her work lies in the fact that she is the embodiment of someone who has already tapped the power within. Her own troubled life reads like a catalog of everything that can go wrong in the life of a late-twentieth-century black woman: "At age 17, I had my first child. At age 19, I entered an abusive marriage. At 22, I had my first nervous breakdown.... At age 23, I began receiving public assistance. At age 25, I was virtually homeless. At age 29, I was in therapy. When I was 30, my husband broke my jaw, I had my second breakdown." Yet after all of that drama, she found the spiritual resources within herself to overcome it.
Her books broke new ground in some key areas and set the tone for many inspiratipnal and spiritual books — both fiction and nonfiction — that followed in the 1990s. She was among the first authors to reach a wide audience espousing African-based spirituality as a source of wisdom and guidance, as opposed to the traditional black church. She also directed readers to go inside themselves to heal their own torn psyches, instead of directing her readers toward outward political and community action. And Vanzant talked to black women about their experiences with familiarity, candor, and love that readers have responded to in the millions. Her vast readership understands that she teaches by example, that she has triumphed and has reached back to her sisters to offer the wisdom of her experiences.